A swimming noodle, water noodle or pool noodle is a flexible solid foam cylinder that can be used as a float, pool toy, and even as a piece of water aerobics gear.
The most popular swimming noodle is made of polyethylene foam and is about three inches thick and four feet long. Other designs have a hollowed-out core, are made of neoprene, or are inflatable and made of vinyl.
Advantages of Swimming Noodles
Swimming noodles have quite a few characteristics that explain their popularity at pools around the world:
- They come in a variety of colors, making them attractive to children.
- They float very well. A single noodle can keep an adult above water in a vertical position, without him or her doing any arm or leg movements.
- They are quite flexible, leading to lots of different uses.
- They can take a lot of abuse.
- They are quite durable.
- They are inexpensive.
Using Swimming Noodles to Learn Swimming
As our focus is to learn how to swim, here are some examples of how swimming noodles can help you in that context:
- To learn how to flutter kick, scull water or tread water, place a noodle under one armpit, around the back then under the other armpit to float in a vertical position.
To practice the backstroke kick, place the swimming noodle behind the neck in a supine position with arms extended overhead or resting at the sides.
To practice the scissor kick used with the sidestroke, place a swimming noodle under the lower armpit while floating in the horizontal side position.
Other Uses for Swimming Noodles
- I prefer to use a swimming noodle rather than a kickboard when doing kicking sets because the flexible noodle, when placed across the chest and under the armpits, allows me to keep the head above water without strain. Holding a kickboard in front of me with extended arms strains my neck and shoulders quite a bit.
- I often see athletes injured at a leg use a swimming noodle. They place the noodle around the back and under the armpits, and then move their arms and legs and start jogging in the water. The resistance of the water against the limbs provides an excellent low-impact workout.
- Children (and even their parents) often use a swimming noodle in pool games. They may tow their playmates, ride a noodle, whack themselves on the head, and so on.
As you can see, the humble swimming noodle has quite a few different uses, even for adults, so don’t dismiss it as a pool toy only.